“Democracy and the Informed Citizen,” a Missouri Humanities Council and UM System Panel Discussion


In advance of the 2020 presidential election, Missouri Humanities, in partnership with the UM System, will bring together University students and rural and urban viewers from across the Show Me State for a September 22 online panel discussion exploring the critical role the humanities and journalism play in shaping the judgments and opinions of citizens in a democratic society. With the goal of uniting an ideologically diverse crowd around the importance of quality journalism in support of an informed citizenry and a healthy democracy, the program will feature a conversation between Michael Gerson, a nationally syndicated columnist; Tony Messenger, reporter and columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; and Ruby Bailey, Executive Editor at the Columbia Missourian and Missouri Community Newspaper Management Chair at the Missouri School of Journalism. The event will be held virtually via Zoom or a similar platform from 7:00-8:30pm and the conversation will be moderated by Janet Saidi, Assistant News Director at KBIA radio.

Anyone interested can register for the event here.

Michael Gerson is the author of Heroic Conservatism. He appears regularly on the “PBS NewsHour” and “Face the Nation.” Until 2006, Gerson was a top aide to President George W. Bush as his assistant to the president for policy and strategic planning. Tony Messenger, by contrast, offers progressive commentary for the St. Louis region. His reporting on Ferguson, MO, following the death of Michael Brown made him a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2015. His Pulitzer win in 2019 recognized him for “bold columns that exposed the malfeasance and injustice of forcing poor rural Missourians charged with misdemeanor crimes to pay unaffordable fines or be sent to jail.” Ruby Bailey is a professor at the prestigious Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Bailey worked for the Detroit Free Press for 16 years and became a Washington correspondent, where she covered news of interest to Michigan readers. In 2014, she joined the Sacramento Bee, where she led a team of reporters focused on increasing and improving the Bee’s digital content. She has experience covering and editing all aspects of local news, including business, entertainment, and feature coverage.